It had been more than a year since Janet had seen Mateo, and he was almost five years old now. To Mateo, it had felt like forever since he had seen his favorite teacher. Janet stood excitedly by the door. As soon as she saw Mateo, she recognized him, even through his tiny mask. Her heart danced with joy to see Mateo there, still as adorable as before, only a little older and a little taller.
On the playground she called him over to her. She knew a year was a long time for a child; A quarter of his life had passed since the preschool closed. She didn’t know if he would even know who she was anymore!
“Hello, Mateo! Do you remember me?”
Janet pulled her mask down a little, showing the little boy her hopeful face. Mateo stared for a moment. Then he smiled.
“I remember… that I love you.”
Doesn’t that bring joy to your heart and a tiny tear to your eye? Janet, standing there with her hopeful question and Mateo, with his enduring love?
People, no matter what age, want desperately to be cherished, loved and remembered. This is something we can all relate to.
I can relate. In fact, this scenario could easily be one that has taken place in my heart…between God and I.
In some of my hardest moments and greatest need, I have been afraid at times that God might have forgotten me. I would wonder if He had not heard my cries or that I had done something that had come between us.
In my mind, I see myself asking God this same question: “Hello, God. Do you remember me?”
And there I am, pulling down my “mask,” looking with hope in my eyes. Maybe, if I call Him over and remove this small barrier between us, then God will recognize me again, turn his attention back to me…and still love me.
My brain knows that “[nothing] in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God…” (Rom. 8:39) but my heart still asks the question sometimes: “Hello, God. Do you remember me?”
There are many places in the Bible that say, “…and God remembered…” I have heard many people ask if God had actually forgotten someone or something; Him being all powerful and perfect, how could that be?
In our modern minds, we often use “remember” synonymously with “forgotten and then recalled.” So, when I first read one of these “and God remembered…” passages, I usually misunderstand; If God can forget them, maybe he could forget me?
I decided to look into this. I researched some of the passages that talk about God remembering and here’s what I discovered:
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word used for “to remember” is ZAKAR. It has a much deeper meaning than to just “recall” or “come to mind,” like it says in Webster’s dictionary.
According to Jessica Brodie of Christinanity.com, it means to “bring someone to mind and then act on that person’s behalf.” Brodie says, “Zakar, then, is as much direct action as it is a mental exercise.”
Here are a few examples:
When God “remembered” Noah during the great flood, He began to dry the land so Noah and his family could live out God’s new plan for the earth. (Gen 8:1)
When God “remembered” Rachel, He helps her conceive after being barren for years. Joseph was born and he grew up to save his entire family from famine and establish the nation of Israel. (Gen 30:32)
When God “remembers,” it means he is taking action for our growth and goodness.
On top of that, God is incapable of forgetting you! Isaiah 49 tells how God takes action to provide for Israel, reassuring them even when they are doubting Him.
“But Jerusalem said, “The Lord has left me; the Lord has forgotten me.”
The Lord answers, “Can a woman forget the baby she nurses?
Can she feel no kindness for the child to which she gave birth?
Even if she could forget her children, I will not forget you.
See, I have written your name on my hand.”
There is one more take-away from Janet and Mateo’s story that I don’t want us to miss. When Janet called out to Mateo, she was hoping just to be recognized and assured she was loved. It’s what any of us would want but are often unsure we will get.
But Mateo, like God, had “written her name on his hand” and even in his heart. And because of who God is and how He loves us, He will always answer in the same way Mateo did….“I remember… that I love you.”
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
Dear friends, you are cherished and loved by a beautiful God that will ALWAYS remember you, cherish you and be faithful to you. I invite you to live like this is your truth. And remember.